Congress included $6.4 billion for disaster relief in the six-month stopgap funding measure that keeps the government running through March 27. With an $11.8 billion cap on disaster funds, Congress could provide another $5.4 billion either through a supplementary spending bill or as part of a catch-all omnibus spending measure. If more money is necessary, as many expect to be the case, the debt limit law allows Congress to appropriate additional funds under an emergency designation.
Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., said it could be that storm aid is folded into legislation that would avert the fiscal cliff and serve as a “bridge” to agreement on a comprehensive deficit reduction package next year.
“We’re starting to run out of time” to pass a standalone disaster relief bill, he said.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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